Latest idea to help Oahu’s homeless: hygiene centers

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Hygiene centers have worked in some places on the mainland to help the homeless, and now a Honolulu City Councilman wants to bring them to Oahu.

Councilman Joey Manahan introduced a resolution, asking the City Administration to study the feasibility of establishing hygiene centers in the City and County of Honolulu.

“Basically a place where people can go, or people who are homeless can go take a shower, wash clothes, get a toothbrush,” Manahan said.

Something like the Urban Rest Stop in Seattle.

It’s not a shelter, but rather a place where the homeless can get cleaned up, perhaps before they go on a job interview.

“I think it’s a good idea. I think it’ll really help out a lot of people out here. They need something like that,” Chinatown resident Pale Iosefo said.

It would help people like Makoa Jennings. He’s homeless and often sleeps, takes a shower, and does his laundry at the beach.

“There’s no shame washing clothes because if you got no money and you’re out here, that’s the way,” Jennings said.

Manahan says he doesn’t know how much the hygiene centers would cost, or exactly where they would be located.

But he thinks they would be paid for by federal funds, matched with city funds.

“I wouldn’t mind letting some of my tax dollars be used for something that’s going to be well used,” Iosefo said.

Donald Ani of Liliha disagrees, “why we gotta support them when we getting hard time supporting ourselves here.”

Manahan says, because the homeless are also part of our community, “and it’s something we should all care about.”

Painting a brighter future for all.

Manahan envisions the hygiene centers to be run by a non-profit group, maybe through a public private partnership.

The resolution will be heard by the Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs and Human Services on Thursday, June 18 at 2:30 p.m., in the Council Committee Meeting Room at Honolulu Hale.

The public is welcome to testify.

Committee on Intergovernmental Affairs and Human Services
Agenda and instructions to submit testimony
Text of proposed resolution ‘Requesting the city administration to study the feasibility of Establishing hygiene centers in the city for homeless persons’ (PDF)

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